Shell backs promising solar battery storage specialist

Shell Ventures has signposted its latest interest in clean energy with its decision to boost battery storage maker sonnen in a $70m investment.

A division of oil giant, Royal Dutch Shell, Shell Ventures was a lead investor in the latest funding round.

Chief executive of sonnen, Christoph Ostermann said, “With this money, we can get started on important investment plans, especially in the United States and Australia.”
The sonnen model
“We also want to invest in broadening our sonnen community and our virtual power plant (VPP), and expand our offering of grid-related services.”

The company provides storage systems to households with rooftop solar panels and links up home-produced electricity to other solar power users in Germany, Europe’s biggest solar market.

sonnen provides hardware and software to customers in its sonnen community seeking more independence from power markets dominated by big utilities.

So far, sonnen has sold 30,000 batteries worldwide with combined capacity for 210 MW. This only equates to a small fossil-fuel power plant, but it has potential to expand as storage becomes cheaper and generation becomes less centralised.

The company has teamed up with grid companies to help iron out imbalances in transmission networks by aggregating battery owners to operate as a single “virtual” power plant.

The company boosted turnover by 65 percent to EUR65m in 2017, outpacing growth in German solar battery sales of 30 per cent, Ostermann said, adding that a stock market listing (IPO) was a possibility but was not on the immediate horizon.

The company also has presence in Italy, France, Australia, Austria, Britain and the US.

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